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From Chuck Williams <ch...@manawiz.com>
Subject Re: Results (Re: Survey: Lucene and Java 1.4 vs. 1.5)
Date Tue, 20 Jun 2006 18:15:17 GMT
I think Otis put things perfectly and would like to second everything
he's said.

This is about facilitating more contributions from the majority vs.
creating a version that the minority can use.  To answer Otis's
question, "How small does the percentage of 1.4 users need to be, before
we can have 1.5 in Lucene?", I think there are some other factors that
need to be considered.

How many contributors to Lucene are generating contributions out of work
they are doing for their companies or other vocations, submitting these
to Lucene to achieve the benefits of community
usage/maintenance/enhancement, and using 1.5 as their daily environment?

My suspicion is that while the user ratio may be 2:1 1.5:1.4 that the
contributor ratio is even more skewed in favor of 1.5.  One of the
reasons I suspect this is that the 1.4 users who have spoken up thus far
do not seem to fully appreciate the volunteer-contribution model of the
Lucene community (e.g., see the thread below).  I think it is safe to
assume that potential contributors will be less motivated if they are
forced to back port their code.

If Lucene makes the 1.5 decision, about 1/3 of the Lucene user base
today will not be able to build off the head, although they will have a
fully supported 2.0.x.  The 1/3 portion will decline continually, but
this is still a substantial problem.  I'm sure the Lucene pmc/committers
do not want to leave so many users behind.

If Lucene makes the 1.4 decision, it will get fewer contributions.  As
one example, I will only submit bug fixes.  I'm waiting to see how this
turns out to decide whether or not to contribute some new features that
are all coded in 1.5.  The question is how many contributors are in a
similar situation?  If this number is say greater than 80%, rather than
the 67% indicated in the usage poll, then making the 1.4 decision is
also a substantial problem for Lucene's future.

Chuck


Otis Gospodnetic wrote on 06/20/2006 09:33 AM:
> Sorry, for some reason my Yahoo email doesn't prepend ">" on replies, so I'll use
"OG" for my lines.
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Dan Armbrust <daniel.armbrust.list@gmail.com>
> Robert Engels wrote:
>
>   
>> People making these arguments against 1.5 sound really ill-informed, or
>> lazy. Neither of which is good for open-source development.
>>
>>     
>
> Preface - I'm not a lucene developer - just an interested user.
>
> I don't know - it seems to me that it is the 1.5 crowd that is making 
> the lazy argument.  You are in effect, saying, that the highly skilled 
> developers who would be making lucene contributions are unable or 
> unwilling to write 1.4 java code?  Come on... it really not that hard. 
> Which set is being lazy?  I'll stop the name calling now, and try to 
> make a better point.
>
> OG: I think you are missing or misinterpreting things here.  Lucene contributors tend
to be people who write nice extensions to Lucene, and want to give them back to Lucene.  Typically
those extensions come out of their day jobs, or at least that is my impression.  When they
use 1.5 there, their contribution will be 1.5.  External contributors already spend extra
time and effort to do this.  Requiring them to modify their code not to use 1.5 would mean
they will be less likely to contribute.  I wouldn't bother, if I had to take extra time and
effort to contribute, and even "go backwards" with my code, when what I really want is for
my piece of code to become a part of Lucene, so I can just use that code instead of maintaining
my own variation of it.
>
> OG: My main concern is losing those contributions.  We already have a TON of good patches
in JIRA that we didn't integrate, and lots of them are lost, because patches no longer apply.
 I hate treating kind contributors like that.  I feel ungrateful.
>
> OG: So, instead of only thinking how if Lucene 2.1 goes the 1.5 route you won't be able
to use the latest and greatest, one can also think about losing the latest and greatest contributions
because they are written with 1.5 in mind.  And this is not a loss only to those who are already
on 1.5.  This is a loss for _everyone_ in the long run.  Those running 1.4 now, will be running
1.5 one day, but they won't be getting Lucene with contributions that were rejected, because
in the second half of 2006 we were forced to reject all 1.5 contributions.
>
> I have some applications that I have written in 1.5 - and yes - it is 
> nice.  But I also have other applications (that use Lucene) that are 
> written to be 1.4 compatible.  And they need to stay that way for quite 
> some time to come. 
>
> OG: Exactly.  There will ALWAYS be people who have to stay with 1.4 or older Java.  At
some point you have to decide not support the older versions, just like at some point we decided
to stop supporting 1.3.
>
> Also, at my place of employment we have about 40,000 desktop computers 
> that are all centrally managed - down to every point release of every 
> single piece of software.  There are multiple applications using java 
> that are installed on these machines.  Each application has to be 
> certified and fully tested with a newer version of java before a newer 
> version of java can be installed.  As you can imagine, that severely 
> hampers the pace of java updates.  We are just getting 1.4 installed on 
> these machines now.  When you are managing that many machines in a 
> clinical environment - you have to play it safe.  There are no upgrades 
> for an upgrades sake, or for syntactic sugar.  There has to be a real 
> problem to even get the process started.  I'm sure many other people 
> have similar situations.
>
> OG: Again, exactly.  If this is an environment where upgrades are very carefully planned
and thus probably rare, why does this environment care SO much to have the cutting edge Lucene,
when at the same time they are ok with a old version of Java?
>
> Also - I don't know much about the Java mobile platform - but I thought 
> I had read before that they are limited to the 1.3 or 1.4 feature set? 
> If this is true, do we really want to remove an entire ecosystem of 
> potential users?  Over syntactic sugar?
>
> OG: It is NOT syntactic sugar only.  This is FUD! :)  Really.  I just found a bug in
my code that was hidden for several weeks because I was using a List instead of List<String>,
for instance!  Also, this "entire ecosystem of potential users" seems a bit exaggerated. :)
 They certainly didn't seem to take part in that survey.  I think J2ME on mobile devices might
even be 1.2 Java, not sure.
>
> While I'm not completely opposed to the argument that I should just have 
> to stay with the Lucene 2.0.x release with applications that need to run 
> in 1.4 environments - Lucene is an integral part of that code.  If 
> performance improvements are made to the core, I want those in my code. 
>   If bugs are found and fixed - I want those fixes too.  As a matter of 
> fact - until the 2.0 release, I was using a build from the trunk because 
> of a bug that I found in Lucene, (and someone else was gracious enough 
> to fix for me).  
>
> OG: But I benchmarked Java 1.4 and 1.5 a few weeks ago.  1.5 is _substantially_ faster.
 If you want performance improvements, why not also upgrade Java then?  Ths really bugs me.
 People want the latest and greatest Lucene, but are okay with the old Java, yet they claim
they want performance, bug fixes, etc.
>
> Lucene is a low level library that is used to build 
> many great applications.  If you make the jump to 1.5 today - you are 
> going to be leaving people behind.  And judging by the poll, you are
>
> OG: That is always going to be the case.  I _think_ the question is how many people.
>  
> going to be leaving a fairly significant number of people behind. 
>
> OG: "fairly significant number" is quite subjective.  The ratio of 1.5 vs. 1.4 users
is currently a little over 2:1.  My guess is that in 2-3 months it will be closer to 3:1.
 Lucene 2.1 won't be released for another 6 months (2007), I am willing to bet, and yet we
are considering rejecting 1.5 contributions now, in June 2006.
>
> Lucene has great policy on not breaking backwards compatibility in their 
> API - why should this be looked at any differently?
>
> OG: Lucene 2.0 API is not compatible with 1.4.3 API.  It is the same situation.  We deprecated
some API calls and then we removed them.  Those who want Lucene 2.0.0 had to update their
code to use the new API, otherwise their code would not compile.
>
>  > Rather than having the 1.5 developers having to waste their time
>  > "thinking" in 1.4 when their work is predominately being performed
>  > using 1.5 features/compilers/tools.
>
>
> I don't think that the caliber of developers that are working on the 
> Lucene core are going to be slowed down any by using 1.4 syntax over 
> 1.5.  (It actually takes longer to type in all of those generics :)  All 
> of my tools - Eclipse and Java 1.5 - have a check box that will cause 
> them to generate 1.4 compatible code.  Its really _not_ a big deal to 
> write 1.4 code even if you are used to 1.5.  This particular argument 
> just isn't compelling to me.
>
> OG: Please read what I wrote all the way up.  In my mind, it is not so much about core
Lucene developers, as it is about external contributions.  Core developer will know what we
agreed on and will write the code to suit our agreement.  External contributor will contribute
code she/he wrote for work.  As the poll shows, more people use 1.5 at work, thus...
>
> My personal opinion for the path that Lucene should take:
>
> Core bugs fixes must be 1.4 compatible.
> Core improvements must be 1.4 compatible.
> Contrib / sandbox can be 1.5 or 1.6.
>
> Of course, at some point - Lucene Core does need to advance.  But I 
> don't just don't feel that syntactic sugar in 1.5 is enough of a reason 
> to break backwards compatibility.  I haven't followed 1.6 - I don't know 
>
> OG: Again, it's not about syntactic sugar.  This is FUD.
>
> what the new features are there.  Assuming that there are great new 
> features in 1.6 - that would improve the lucene core if they were used - 
>   I think that that is when this issue gets revisited.
>
> This isn't the type of question that should be decided by a poll.  This 
>
> OG: The poll was about "what do you use", and not "what version of Java should Lucene
support".  I hope this wasn't misinterpreted by those who took the poll.
>
> should be decided by thoughtfully looking at the consequences of each 
> choice.  For me - the negative consequences of choosing 1.5 - leaving 
> behind a lot of users - is much worse than the negative consequences of 
> staying at 1.4 - making a couple dozen highly skilled developers check 
> an extra box in their lucene development environments?
>
> OG: I don't think the checkbox will remove 1.5-style for loops or generics and other
stuff if that is already in the code.
>
> If any developers have actually read this far (sorry - it got kind of 
> long) - thanks again for all of your great work - Lucene is a great tool 
> - and a great community.
>
> OG: Thanks Dan, and please don't take my email(s) wrong.  I'm quite clear-headed in this
issue, and am trying to be objective.  I personally wouldn't get hurt if we stayed with 1.4,
I'd just be feeling bad and guilty if we had to reject contributions that have 1.5 bits in
it.
>
> OG: How about this.  I noticed th "significant number of people left behind" statement
in a few people's arguments.  How small of a percentage of 1.4 users do you think we should
look for before we can ove to 1.5?  What does the 1.5:1.4 ration need to be?
> This is not a question for Dan only. I would really be interested what others think about
this.  How small does the percentage of 1.4 users need to be, before we can have 1.5 in Lucene?
>
> Thanks,
> Otis
>
>
>
>
>
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>   


-- 
*Chuck Williams*
Manawiz
Principal
V: (808)885-8688
C: (415)846-9018
chuck@manawiz.com <mailto:chuck@manawiz.com>
Skype: manawiz
AIM: hawimanawiz
Yahoo: jcwxx

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